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Politicians must stop ducking key issues facing taxpayers

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on party leaders to stop avoiding key issues facing taxpayers during the election.

“While politicians are busy scoring political points, taxpayers are still waiting to hear where they’re going to save money,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “Politicians don’t want to talk about reversing their own pandemic pay hikes, paying back the wage subsidy political parties took and taking air out of the bloated budget. Taxpayers deserve answers.”

The CTF is calling on party leaders to stop avoiding three key issues for taxpayers.

1) Unprecedented spending

Even before the pandemic, the federal government increased its per person spending to all-time highs in 2018, according to the Fraser Institute.

The Conservatives announced about $50 billion in new spending and the Liberals promise $78 billion in new spending. Even after raising income taxes, business taxes, capital gains taxes and imposing a wealth and excess profits tax, the New Democrats still have no plan to balance the budget.

2) Pay raises during the pandemic

All members of Parliament received two pay raises during the pandemic, ranging from $6,900 for a backbench MP to $13,800 for the prime minister. The federal government stopped the automatic pay raises between 2010 and 2013 in response to the 2008-09 recession. The major parties have not promised to reverse the pandemic pay raises.

During the pandemic, 312,825 federal government employees received a pay raise, according to an access to information request obtained by the CTF.

3) Paying back the federal wage subsidy

Political parties helped themselves to emergency wage subsidies intended for businesses struggling through the pandemic.

The Conservatives promised to repay the wage subsidy, but as of mid-March, the Conservatives still hadn’t paid back the subsidy. Last year, the Liberals said they would stop taking the wage subsidy, but had no plans to pay it back. Despite pushing some businesses to repay a portion of the wage subsidy, the NDP hasn’t said whether they’ve paid back the subsidy.

“The feds were spending all-time highs before the pandemic, so it shouldn’t be too hard for politicians to save taxpayers some money,” said Terrazzano. “Taxpayers are still waiting for politicians to address the low hanging fruit like reversing the politician pay hikes during the pandemic and paying back the wage subsidy that political parties took.”

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